Rules For Life – Honor Yourself
by Ken La Salle
Welcome back to my continuing series of Rules For Life.
In the course of my writing career, I have had occasion to sign a variety of contracts –contracts both short and long, broad and specific. But it was the contract that certain parties violated a few days ago that stopped me in my tracks, changed my life, and made me realize that when all is said and done, you should honor your word because you should honor yourself.
This particular contract was a pretty big one. It covered multiple books and it could have laid out one of the focal points of my whole career. I fought hard to make it happen, gave the party in question plenty of leeway when times were tough, which is why you can probably imagine my shock when I found out that they had no problem stabbing me in the back. They had written the contract and they had signed the contract, but when they decided they would benefit by disregarding a legally-binding contract, their word, they went ahead and did it anyway.
Now, at this point in the article, you may find yourself predicting the “Rule” that I’m going for: that you should honor your word because of the damage you could do to others. In this case, I know that plenty of damage was done to my career and I felt hurt to have trusted people who ended up betraying me.
You might be surprised, then, to find that the Rule for this month has nothing to do with the way your actions affect others. No. You should honor your word and honor yourself because of the damage your actions to the contrary end up doing to you. When you lie or cheat, when you break your agreements and violate your contracts (both written and otherwise), the person you hurt the most is yourself.
Consider for just a moment what happens when you betray people. You end up losing those people in your life. I’m never going to have anything to do with the people who broke their word, and I’m going to make sure no one I know has anything to do with them, either. How can anyone expect to retain their relationships when they are violating the trust that holds that relationship together? And so, you find yourself increasingly alone in a world that wants nothing to do with you.
And that’s not the worst part. There will come a time in the lives of most people, those who live long enough, when they will reflect upon the kind of life they have lived. And they will see how, in not honoring themselves, they failed to honor those around them. They will understand how they pushed the world away through their inability to trust others, which is why most people are untrustworthy, after all. It comes from a failure to trust.
But, listen, there are enough lousy people out there for one world. We can all agree on that. Why make yourself into just another one of those people?
That’s how I’m going to see this person who betrayed me. And, with each additional person they betray, another person will see them like that as well. Eventually, it will become impossible for this untrustworthy person to say to themselves, “It wasn’t me. It was the other guy.” Because the other guys will outnumber them. The truth will become undeniable.
Nobody wants to live like that. And, the thing is, nobody has to. One of the great things about life is that you can change at any time. We’ve all made mistakes along the way but you can chose, right now, to honor yourself and experience the fulfillment in being the kind of person people can count on, the kind of person people can trust…. the kind of person you can trust.
It’s one of the few things in life that’s a winner every time.
About the Author
Author and Playwright, Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue-collar roots, which have given him a progressive and environmentalist view. As a result, you’ll find many of his stories touching those areas both geographically and philosophically. His plays have been seen in theaters across the country and you can find a growing number of books available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at www.kenlasalle.com.